Music Reviews



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Artist: Rona Geffen (@)
Title: Bilono
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: RGunlimited
Distributor: Stars & Heroes
Rated: *****
'Bilono' is the controversial debut album from Israeli producer/ singer Rona Geffen and has been described by the artist as 'the sound of day and night life in Tel-Aviv ' from its harsh politics, bombs, fire, useless loss of lives to that constant dripping of the neighbour's air-conditioner.' Aside from this, Rona has also released an electronic opera called 'Strike- No sex in the TL Village' as well as writing 'Wetting Party' for a group of Berlin based Choreographers. The record is driven by a strong pulsating tone of heavily distorted drums, dark bass lines and industrial influenced synth leads hybridised with a heavy Middle Eastern influenced sound, often incorporating classical instruments such as a clarinet on 'Hol Ba'eynayim' and strings heavily featuring on the second half of the album. The overall sound of this album ranges from the mysterious on 'Bitches' to the more uplifting and epic on 'East West', to the cataclysmic, disgusting wall of noise and the solemn following it on 'Requiem'. Vocals are often emotional, raw and heavily distorted, lyrics often divulging in topics such as sexuality and relationships. Though to be frankly honest, the lyrics (those of which I understand as some tracks are sung entirely in Hebrew) aren't Rona Geffen's strong point, more amateurish than transcendent, I found her songs exploring female sexuality contrived and uncomfortable to listen, does she shock the listener? Yes. Are her lyrics and vocals original? Yes. But is it enjoyable to listen to? No, not at all. Half of the tracks on this album are entirely instrumental and I feel this is where Ms. Geffen's talents truly lie. Instrumental tracks showed far more promise than those containing vocals, her musical arrangement in the more hybridised tracks was exceptional and were thoroughly enjoyable. The entirely electro driven tracks were also promising but eventually became repetitive and lost momentum. My favourite track on the album would be 'Requiem part 2' after the noisey, implosion on part 1, this piece is so well crafted, so beautifully arranged and conveys an overwhelming sense solemn. Bilono is released on the 15th of December on RGunlimited.
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Artist: Aritape (@)
Title: Satellite Angel
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Distributor: Stars & Heroes
Rated: *****
''...Or meet me at the crossroads of my nightmares ' watch us trading things we used to share'.
Poignant words from a very poignant record. Aritape is a solo project from Berlin based German producer Arik Hayut and 'Satellite Angel' shall be his 2nd release under this pseudonym following his release earlier this year 'The Sun Is Gone'. Since then Hayut has continued to evolve his sound to include vibraphones, bass to field recordings, all of which have helped him cultivate a completely unique sound. The overall theme of the 3 track EP is quite a poignant one, with lyrics focusing more on melancholic, thought provoking topics, from the existential and lost on 'Birthday' and 'Satellite Angel' to the deeply personal found on 'So Long'. Production wise the album is crisp, within seconds it is easy to see that percussion is Aritape's forte with all tracks featuring infectious grooves (it is also interesting to note that the percussion instruments are entirely self-constructed) which are wonderfully complemented by quaint melodies and lush strings which forms a perfect, melancholic atmosphere which just flows through the often blunt, reality sung by Hayut, who's dry vocals and eerie choruses just add another impressive layer atop this emotive cake of a record. My favourite track on this release would have to be 'So Long' not only for the beautifully crafted atmosphere, but because of the deeply personal aspect. I was told that '10 years ago, Hayut went through a severe health crisis, which had implicated his life' and through listening, the story becomes much clearer. 'Cancer-time- God's Perfect Crime' a dark conclusion to a very dark, emotive record. Satellite Angel is released on the 15th of December and is not one to be missed.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: I Care Because You Don't
Format: CD
Label: Turbo Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Following the appetizer I spoke about some weeks ago, the definitive compilation by Clouds, the bicephalous 4-handed project by Calum MacLeod and Liam Robertson, which blended a number of amazing tracks from hardcore Scottish hooligan techno, promptly came out. As I've already said when I introduced that first drop, it's quite clear that the stylistical hooks to the harsh sonorities of glorious British rave scene got wisely sharpened by Dutch house, Australian electro break and Jack Dangers-like harsh sonorities and my first impression got confirmed while listening to the 16 tracks that have been included in this selection. I'd rather say that some tracks which have been added to the already tasted four ones of that tidbit (Clouds' "Blood Skating", Dance Company's "Berzerkerz (Hardcore Young Team)", DJ Hesburger's "Roll Up Your Sleeves, Welcome to the Dance", Jane's "Fuck Your Alliance") widened the spectrum of stylistical croosbreed: some of you could get surprised by the fact they could include tracks like "Let's Bone 2 Drone" by Boa Dona An Taus, which jumps over the sketched stylistical fences by interesting explorations of electronic industrial territories, "Gubbed" by Pleasure Quest, a well-balanced crossbreed between a Pressure Drop-like flapped break and AFX-like sonic dents, the laptop-driven acid ambient-techno on tracks like "Msn Hype" by Dj Bandit or "Nissan Diesel" by Space Runner JP. Even if I've never really been a football lover due to the fact I can't really stand the money-propelled idolatry of football players, this funny compilation could persuade me to take part to a party by nice Scottish hooligans and even wear a jersey of the legendary Celtic Rangers!
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Artist: Glue
Title: Chats With The Real McCoy
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
It seems that a rusty gate got opened by a mischievously alluring shadow who invites listener to play some games in its manor on "Fallen Lucifers", the opening track by which Glue, a brilliant Berlin-based trio comprising of British trumpeter Tom Arthurs - I previously met his name as a member of Julia Huelsmann quartet -, Canadian rising star Miles Perkin - a real talent on upright and acoustic bass of Montreal music scene - and Greek drummer and percussionist Yorgos Dimitriadis, ignites this chat with The Real McCoy. The eight funny improvisations by these musicians aggregate free-jazz modus operandi and bizarre performative techniques to dark-tinged jazz so that you could have the impression that they sometimes dissolved sonorities a-la Kilimanjaro Dark Jazz Ensmble in highly-corrosive acid which managed to break subatomic bonds as well as hierarchical connection as there'a no leading instrument in each track: a seducing trumpet sounds like searching its leak in a funnel which got obstructed by popping drums on "Washington Mint and Blushing Cherry" before the title-track "Chats With The Real McCoy" got the meaning out the name of the band as the trumpet seems to get played as if someone sticked Arthurs' lips by some glue before he managed to articulate some proper tone and a temporary atrophy seems to increase friction for drums and upright bass before they begin to tune in. The lively instrumental scolding on "The Wrong Food Buy" and the shimmering nuance of "She is The Queenly Pearl" precede the funny tightrope walking of "The Tragic Jester" - in order to highlight the portray of such an imaginative character, drums sound like proper eyesores! -, the strangled sonorities of "Split Ink" and the entrancing final "Red Dawn and Blue Denim", where they reaches the highest peak of the release. As they pointed out on the cover notes, it' "best heard with headphones or in an undistracted listening environment".
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Artist: Frode Haltli (@)
Title: Vagabonde Blu
Format: CD
Label: Hubro (@)
Rated: *****
I remember an interview to Salvatore Sciarrino when the Sicilian composer described the first stage of his own compositional process and the invention of sonic worlds as the extraction from the bottom of Hades, the mythological reign of the underworld, of something which composer or musician wants to bring to light in spite of the fact it could be unknown or unfamiliar. I have not quoted this description of compositional process in order to introduce this release by Norwegian accordeonist Frode Haltli for the mere fact he named his first properly solo album after Sciarrino's notorious composition "Vagabonde Blu", but mainly for the choice of the scores he performed and the location where Frode recorded them. First of all, the three compositions he interpreted have some connections to that idea of life-in-death and death-in-life and its inner unpredictability and such a feature resurfaces from performative and compositional aspects: the alternation of grueling overstretched tones and sudden tonal tangles in "Flashing", Haltli's homage to Arne Nordheim, whose music according to Haltli's own words "is hurled out into space, into the universe, into eternity", mirror this duality, but also the breath-like sequence of sometimes agonizing tiny emissions of air and convulsive noises and the trembling motion that got vividly rendered by variations of intensity and speed in "Vagabonde Blu" as well as the lullaby-like "Ein kleines...", a composition by Aldo Clementi whose repetitive modal theme fades over slow reductions of dynamics and tempo, focuses on this duality. The link to Hades or to the interzone between life and death (or I'd rather say between discernible and undiscernible) is less dependent on the sensibility or the ability to focus of the listener for what concerns the place where this album was recorded: Tomba Emmanuelle, the mausoleum that artist Emanuel Vigeland built with the intent of making a museum for his sculptures and paintings, is a place whose acoustic features attracted many notorious musicians (Diamanda Galas, Huntsville, Susanne Sundfor, Stian Westerhus) who used the place where Vigeland's urn got hosted as a recording hall. Frode describes this place in album's cover notes by these words: "When your eyes get used tot he darkness you can see the fantastic and grotesque fresco of life that covers the walls and ceiuling in the vast, cold room. The massive acoustics produce a long and lively delay covering the entire register fo sounds, and as a result it is nearly impossible to carry out a normal conversation. Silence usually prevails, because you instinctively whisper if you want to say something here...here the room is such an active partner that it changes my music and my playing radically. I listen and wait, and I play offensively at the room so that it can be difficult to determine whether a sound is coming from the instrument, the echo, a combination of the two, or simply a member of the audience who accidentally touches his jacket.". There is no need to highline how this evocative place managed to turn the above-described compositions into almost otherworldly listening experiences...
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